By Sister Carole Ruland, MHSH
I am a Hospice Spiritual Counselor/Chaplain at the Casa de la Luz Hospice in Tucson, Arizona. I’ve been in this very special ministry for about two years. Sometimes, when I tell people this, they say, “How can you to that? Isn’t it sad?”
I tell them that for those who feel called to this ministry, it is a gift. In fact, as I walk with those who are dying, and their families, I find that I am learning how to live a more meaningful life, and also how to prepare for death in a more meaningful way.
As I minister at the In-Patient Unit, I spend time listening to the stories of patients and families and sometimes I am able to provide an opportunity for them to share their fears and uncertainties. Sometimes they talk about their faith and how that provides comfort on this end-of-life journey that all of us will one day take.
I also do On-Call ministry and can be called to the home when a patient is near death or has already died and the family wants a chaplain to be with them and pray with them.
Personally, I am blessed to be able to be conscious of all of the life we have received from our God—both the years of growing and the time of returning to the God who promises us eternal life. This ministry is somewhat more difficult when the person or family does not have a spiritual background to support them at this time. But, even then, I can listen, offer a pastoral presence and support them in their journey.
I treasure the many different experiences I have had so far and choose to continue opening myself to the beauty and intensity of life and death!